I met a very nice and helpful woman the other day who shared with me how much she hated her computer and how she considered throwing it away that very morning! She actually showed me with her fingers how close she came, and it was about ½ inch. She said just what I have said for several years now - most of her problem was because she now lived alone and her son wasn’t there to straighten out what was driving her nuts, computer wise. And the more I thought about her and her problems, I realized that before any of us realized it, the computer (and everything that is run by computers) has taken over not just the world but our children!
Although my summer at the Cape this year was a terrible one, the one thing that was easy and good was that my two grandsons lived there, too. Every time I had a problem with my computer, which was often, all I had to do was shriek for one of the boys and ta da, my problem was over. Now that I am home, Sebastian is living with us every other week. This means that if it is his week “on,” he can immediately help me. If he is traveling or at his house, it is a little harder. I hate to admit it but I have gotten so upset that instead of throwing the darn computer out, I have called McKinley, who is a Senior at Tabor Academy in Massachusetts. And as a rule he walks me through what I have to do and doesn’t even tell me what to do with an attitude. He helps me either right then on the phone or if he is busy, he texts me as soon as possible. Such good boys!
I am sure that there are those of you who are thinking, she is lucky to have older boys who can help her, so what. But you would be wrong. Unless you have no children available at all, don’t assume that younger children don’t know squat about computers. Because you would be wrong. I have a young friend who is only 7 and he is not only very bright he is definitely computer savvy. The first time I spent any time with him I was floored by how much he knows about just about everything. And then he asked if he could use my ipad and I was amazed at his ability to surf the web and look up whatever he was interested in. Of course, his family has to be one in a million because they don’t have television!! And so instead of staring at a TV screen in his spare time, he is either playing or reading. What an interesting concept these days.
So, on one hand you have children, even little children who are able to understand and work with just about any and all computer items. Quite a while ago, I got a secondhand car that had a fancy dashboard, which included a wonderful radio. Unfortunately, not only couldn’t I figure out how to get a certain station, to be truthful, I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. I fussed around with a lot of the buttons to no avail, so I just kept it turned off… until my youngest grandson went for a ride with me. After he asked me if he could turn the radio on, he flicked a few buttons and on it came. When I asked him to program a certain station, he did without a moment’s hesitation. And what’s more, he asked me if I had a CD we could play, and I didn’t even know we had a CD player! By the time we got to our destination, he had given me a whole tutorial on how to run my radio/CD player. And he had just turned 4.
Do I find the whole new world of computers upsetting? I am not sure how I feel. Right now I can write a column and/or a letter on mine. But sending them is a whole different matter. And I can also look up some things on the internet. Of course, I have been to our local Apple store with my phone and my ipad so often that I think that they know me by name. Without that store I would not be able to be a woman of 2013/14. I think that I would be like the Little Old Woman on the Prairie!
So, my advice for the day is don’t buy a computer unless you have a child to help you. And probably this same child can walk you through how to use your new cell phone. But don’t give him or her one because a texting child is one who can’t read or communicate with you. Nope, keep them cell phone free until they are old enough to buy their own and are living somewhere else.